Gorgeous George: The Gender-bending Wrestler Who Created American Pop Culture

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9780061173035: Gorgeous George: The Gender-bending Wrestler Who Created American Pop Culture

But who was Gorgeous George? And what made him tick? Very few people knew him as George Wagner from the outskirts of Houston - the oldest of three brothers from a desperately poor family whose job was to care for their mother Bessie, a bedridden invalid. After Bessie's death, George couldn't wait to get away and make his living in the ring, against the advice of his father, who'd said he'd soon would return beaten and broke. In an era when two-fisted Hollywood stars like Clark Gable, Gary Cooper and John Wayne ruled the silver screen, a red-blooded American male didn't strut around in chiffon and lace unless he wanted to get his lights punched out.Where did the character of Gorgeous George come from? What is it that created this very original, uniquely American character - the he-man with female qualities? How did George and Betty, careening around the country in a beat up jalopy from one low-rent wrestling venue to another, invent and improvise until the Gorgeous George character was perfect?

And what is it that made George so popular that his influence on performers echoes down to this day - not just in the outrageous world of professional wrestling but throughout American popular culture? From Classy Fred Blassie, Jesse "The Body" Ventura (with his feather boa), and Hulk Hogan as his wrestling descendants, performers as iconic as Muhammed Ali, James Brown, Bob Dylan, and John Waters have claimed Gorgeous George among their greatest influences.

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